Topics Map > 16. Leaves of Absence > 16.03 Sick Leave
This policy establishes guidelines for the administration of sick leave eligibility, accrual, usage, and reporting for UW–Madison employees. UW–Madison is responsible to the public for accurate leave reporting, which is essential to ensure the continued availability of this valuable employee benefit.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Director, Workforce Relations
This policy establishes guidelines for the administration of sick leave eligibility, accrual, usage, and reporting for UW–Madison employees.
UW–Madison is responsible to the public for accurate leave reporting, which is essential to ensure the continued availability of this valuable employee benefit.
Who This Policy Applies To
Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited appointees, and University Staff.
UW–Madison is committed to providing its employees with opportunities to balance their work and professional lives. A key aspect of this is paid time off. Effective July 1, 2015, this policy governs sick leave for all eligible UW–Madison employees.
Sick leave of UW employees will be transferred to positions in other state agencies effective July 1, 2015, in accordance with provisions regarding movements of uncovered unclassified employees per s. ER 18.05(2)(b), Wis. Admin. Code, and Chapter 732 of the Wisconsin Human Resources Handbook.
The sick leave policy provides eligible employees with salary continuation in the event of illness or injury, and encourages employees to conserve sick leave for long-term protection.
Eligibility for Sick Leave
- Eligibility for sick leave must be evaluated upon hire. If employees are not immediately eligible for sick leave, their eligibility is monitored throughout employment to determine future eligibility. Once an employee becomes eligible to earn sick leave, the employee will earn sick leave in sick-leave eligible appointment types during all subsequent university employment, unless:
- Employee’s sick-leave eligible employment is terminated for 12 or more consecutive months (this must be evaluated upon rehire); or
- The employee receives a distribution from the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). A WRS distribution includes any of the following:
- WRS retirement or disability monthly annuity
- WRS lump-sum retirement benefit
- WRS lump-sum separation benefit
- The employee must be reevaluated for sick-leave eligibility upon rehire if one of the above WRS distributions was taken.
- University Staff. University Staff, except those in the Temporary Employee category, are eligible to earn sick leave as soon as they are hired.
- Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees (annual basis appointments only). Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees are eligible to earn sick leave once they are:
- Covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) through employment, or
- Expected to work at least 440 hours (21 percent for annual-basis and 28 percent for academic-year appointments) for at least one year. Employees initially hired on academic year contracts meet the one-calendar-year-duration requirement if they are expected to return the following academic year.
- Employees who meet the sick leave eligibility criteria above and hold any visiting appointment title (e.g., visiting professor, visiting associate professor, visiting assistant professor, visiting lecturer, or visiting researcher) are eligible for UW–Madison sick leave if their home institution does not provide sick leave.
- If not initially eligible to earn sick leave, employees can later become eligible through a change in FTE percentage or appointment duration or by meeting the above criteria during the immediately preceding 12-month period.
- Rehired Annuitants. A rehired annuitant is a UW–Madison employee who is currently receiving a WRS retirement or disability annuity. See UW–Madison Rehired Annuitants Policy for additional information. Rehired WRS annuitants are eligible to earn sick leave if they meet all of the eligibility requirements in this policy. Only time worked in a UW System institution after an employee’s WRS annuity effective date counts toward the one-calendar-year-duration requirement.
- If not initially eligible to earn sick leave, rehired annuitants can later become eligible if they change FTE percentage or appointment duration or meet the eligibility criteria during the immediately preceding 12-month period.
- Rehired annuitants are not eligible to receive a sick leave initial entitlement per section II(c) of this sick leave policy.
- Sick leave hours earned as a rehired annuitant are subject to the provisions outlined in Sections IV(a) through (c) and (e) of this sick leave policy regarding termination and movement to another appointment.
- If a rehired annuitant elects to resume active WRS coverage and later reapplies for a WRS benefit, all sick leave accrued as a rehired annuitant is eligible to be converted under the Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit (ASLCC) and Supplemental Health Insurance Conversion Credit (SHICC) programs if the employee meets the requirements of the program(s) per Wis. Stats. §§ 40.05(4)(b) and 40.95.
- If a rehired annuitant does not elect to resume active WRS coverage, any sick leave remaining at the termination of all sick-leave eligible employment at UW–Madison is lost and cannot be reinstated, under section VII of this sick leave policy.
Accrual of Sick Leave
- Sick leave accrual is based on employment category. The following applies to all sick-leave eligible employees:
- An employee who uses sick leave remains in pay status and continues to accumulate sick leave.
- An employee on unpaid leave of absence does not accrue sick leave, unless the employee is on military leave per UW–Madison Military Leave Policy. The employee will retain previously accumulated sick leave.
- University Staff.
- Eligible University Staff earn .0625 hours of sick leave for each hour in pay status, not to exceed five hours in any biweekly pay period.
- Full-time University Staff earn five hours of sick leave per biweekly pay period for a total of 130 hours (16.25 days) per calendar year.
- Part-time University Staff earn prorated sick leave based on appointment percentage (defined as hours in pay status).
- Unused sick leave accumulates from year to year, without limit, in employee sick leave accounts.
- Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees.
- Initial entitlement. The following full-time Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees are granted 176 hours (22 days) of sick leave initial entitlement which they can use during their first 18 months of employment:
- Those meeting eligibility requirements in this policy who have never worked in a sick-leave eligible Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited appointment at UW–Madison; or
- Those who have worked in a sick-leave eligible Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited appointment at UW–Madison but are not eligible for the reinstatement of sick leave as outlined in Section VI of this sick leave policy.
- Once the initial entitlement ends, employees accrue sick leave per section II(d) of this sick leave policy.
- If employees had a University Staff appointment or an appointment with a State of Wisconsin agency in which they earned sick leave, they are granted an initial entitlement at the start of an eligible Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited appointee position. Employees who previously accrued sick leave or were granted sick leave under an initial entitlement can use this sick leave immediately.
- Rehired annuitants are not eligible for an initial entitlement.
- The 18-month initial entitlement period begins on the first day of sick leave eligibility and ends 18 months later. The 18-month period is not extended if an employee goes on a leave of absence during the initial entitlement period.
- Part-time Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees are granted a prorated initial entitlement based on appointment percentage at the time of eligibility.
- If the appointment percentage increases during the initial entitlement period, the amount of the initial entitlement will increase to correspond with the new appointment percentage.
- If an appointment percentage decreases during the initial entitlement period, the amount of initial entitlement does not decrease.
- The initial entitlement may be reduced if leave is not reported completely, accurately, and in a timely manner per section VIII of this sick leave policy.
- If an employee retires during the 18-month initial entitlement period, no amount of the initial entitlement will be available for sick leave credit conversion. The number of sick leave hours available for conversion will equal what the employee would have earned without the initial entitlement period. Example: full-time, annual basis employee
- Initial entitlement starts January 1; and
- Employee retires July 1 (six months into initial entitlement period); and
- Employee would have earned 48 hours of sick leave during this period if not in initial entitlement (six months X eight hours of sick leave/month). Result: 48 hours of sick leave available for conversion (as well as any hours earned prior to the initial entitlement)
- Sick Leave Accrual Outside of Initial Entitlement Period.
- Full-time Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees who are no longer in the initial entitlement period, or who are not eligible for initial entitlement, earn 96 hours (12 days) of sick leave per fiscal year. Employees may not accrue more than 96 hours of sick leave in a fiscal year.
- Part-time Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees receive prorated sick leave based on their appointment percentages.
- Sick leave does not accrue during summer service or summer session employment.
- Sick leave does not accrue during an unpaid leave of absence, except as provided for in UW–Madison Military Leave Policy. Previously accumulated sick leave is not affected by an unpaid leave of absence.
- If leave is reported completely, accurately, and in a timely manner per Section VII of this sick leave policy, unused sick leave accumulates from year to year without limit.
Use of Sick Leave
- Sick leave cannot be used until it has been accrued (i.e., it may not be anticipated). Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees who are granted initial entitlements can use these hours of sick leave during their first 18 months of employment.
- Sick Leave Absence Reasons. Employees with accrued sick leave are eligible to use sick leave for absence from employment:
- For personal illnesses, injury, disability, pregnancy, adoption, or exposure to contagious diseases
- To care for an immediate family member (for up to five consecutive work days). The division may approve additional time off (see section III(d) of this sick leave policy for certification requirements if the absence exceeds five days).
- To attend immediate family or personal medical or dental appointments
- An eligible employee may use up to three days of sick leave after the death of an immediate family member, plus an additional four days of sick leave for travel related to a funeral or other circumstances after the death of an immediate family member. See full policy details in UW–Madison “Miscellaneous Leave Policy.”
- For any absence covered by the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (WFMLA) or Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Use of Other Paid Leave in Lieu of Sick Leave. When an employee is absent for a reason specified in this policy, the following leave types may be used instead of sick leave:
- Vacation and/or vacation carryover
- Personal holiday
- Floating legal holiday
- Hours in a paid leave bank (annual leave reserve account or sabbatical account)
- Leave without pay with approval of employer
- Compensatory time may be used to cover absences that are planned in advance and approved by the supervisor (e.g. doctor’s appointment). The use of compensatory time to cover these absences is at the employee’s discretion.
- Certification of Medical Necessity.
- If an employee uses sick leave for an absence of more than five working days, the employee must present certification from a health care provider of the medical necessity for sick leave, except when sick leave is authorized under the Wisconsin or Federal Family and Medical Leave Acts.
- When UW–Madison is aware that an emergency prevents communicating with an employee or gathering information about an employee’s condition, written certification is not required until communication is possible and appropriate given the condition of the employee.
- In cases of suspected sick leave abuse, UW–Madison is authorized to require written certification from health care providers to verify the medical necessity of absences of any length.
- Teaching Responsibilities and Leave Usage – Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees. Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees who do not meet their teaching responsibilities because of an absence specified in section III(b) of this sick leave policy must report leave even when a qualified instructor covers their responsibilities. Teaching responsibilities include class time preparation, actual classroom instruction, and scheduled office hours available to students for educational guidance.
- Sick Leave During Winter and Spring Session Breaks – Academic Year-Basis Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees. Academic year employees are in pay status during winter and spring session breaks, and are required to follow their official work schedules and fulfill their research, educational, and other university obligations. If they are not able to fulfill their academic obligations due to reasons specified in section III(b) of this sick leave policy, they must use leave.
- Sick Leave Use Outside of Regular Contract Year – Academic Year-Basis Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees.
- Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees under contract with UW–Madison to teach or perform other duties for compensation during periods outside their regular contract years (e.g., employees who contract for summer service or summer session) may use sick leave during the contract periods for reasons described in section III(b) of this sick leave policy.
- Sick leave may be used during contract periods if employees are unable to fulfill their contractual duties due to illness or other medical necessity that begins before the effective date of contracts and continues during the contract periods.
- Sick leave may not be charged for hours that employees do not work because the university cancelled class or other duties due to lack of enrollment or funding, or for similar reasons.
- Sick leave used outside the regular contract year should be reported in actual hours missed.
Sick Leave When Moving from UW–Madison to a Position at Another UW-System Institution or State Agency or Termination
- All sick leave earned as a UW–Madison employee will transfer to a successive UW System leave-eligible appointment. See section VI of this sick leave policy to determine if an employee is eligible for sick leave reinstatement after a break in employment.
- If an employee moves from a Fixed-term Finite position in UW–Madison to a successive leave-eligible position in the UW System on or after July 1, 2015, all leave earned in the project position will transfer into any successive leave-eligible appointment. See UW–Madison Temporary Employee and UW–Madison University Staff Appointment Types policies.
- When a UW–Madison employee moves to a sick-leave eligible position in a State of Wisconsin agency, accumulated sick leave will transfer to the new position in accordance with provisions regarding movements of uncovered unclassified employees per s. ER 18.05(2)(b), Wis. Admin. Code, and Chapter 732 of the Wisconsin Human Resources Handbook.
- Employees who terminate all leave-earning employment with UW–Madison for any reason (including retirement or death) before they attain 20 years of state service lose accumulated sick leave unless they return to employment at the university or a State of Wisconsin agency and are eligible for sick leave reinstatement per section VI of this sick leave policy.
- If an employee is terminated from UW–Madison due to misconduct or delinquency, the university may revoke all unused accumulated sick leave. Employees whose sick leave is revoked are not eligible for sick leave conversion per section V of this sick leave policy or sick leave reinstatement per section VI of this sick leave policy.
Sick Leave Conversion at Layoff, Retirement, or Death
Sick Leave Reinstatement
- If a Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited appointee terminates university employment and returns to a sick leave-eligible Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited appointment at the university within three years (Wis. Admin. Code § UWS 19), the employee’s sick leave balance at the time of termination will be reinstated. If the return is after three years and the sick leave is not reinstated, the employee will be granted an initial entitlement per Section II(c)(i) of this sick leave policy.
- If a Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited appointee terminates university employment and returns to a sick leave-eligible University Staff appointment at the University within five years, the employee’s sick leave balance at the time of termination will be reinstated.
- If a University Staff employee terminates university employment and returns to any sick leave-eligible appointment at the university within five years, the employee’s sick leave balance at the time of termination will be reinstated.
- If an employee of a State of Wisconsin agency terminates employment and starts a sick-leave eligible appointment at UW–Madison within five years, the employee’s sick leave balance at the time of termination will be reinstated.
Reporting and Recording Sick Leave
- Designated Workweek.
- For the purpose of leave reporting, each full-time leave-eligible employee will have a 40-hour work week. The work week will be prorated for a less than full-time appointment. For Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees, the workweek will include all scheduled classes, office hours, and research, as well as other regular university meetings and professional activities.
- For purposes of this section, a normal workweek consists of 40 hours worked within a fixed and regularly recurring period of seven consecutive days. Hours worked per day may vary.
- See UW–Madison Standard Work Hours and Legal Holidays Policy for information about standard office hours.
- Amount of Sick Leave to be Charged.
- For University Staff not exempt from FLSA, sick leave is charged in 15-minute increments. For those divisions currently using this practice for exempt University Staff, there is no change required to current practice.
- Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees and University Staff exempt from FLSA
- Sick leave for full-time Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees and FLSA-exempt University Staff is charged in half-day increments. Absences of between one-quarter and three-fourths day should be charged as one half-day. Absences of three-fourths of a day or greater should be charged as one day.
- Employees with less than full-time appointments should report actual hours absent.
- Sick leave and other paid leave used during summer and intersessions by academic year employees should be reported in actual hours absent.
- If employee is using leave under FMLA, sick leave is charged in actual hours absent.
- At Retirement.
- Employees must submit all required paper leave reports/leave entries at time of retirement. Missing leave reports or missing leave entries may result in a delay in certification of an employee’s sick leave with the Department of Employee Trust Funds. A delay may interrupt health insurance coverage.
Reduction of Sick Leave Accrual for Failing to Report Leave Usage – Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees Only
- Any Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited appointee who fails to file a report on leave usage as required by UW–Madison policy in one or more months of any year shall not be permitted to accrue sick leave for that fiscal year in an amount exceeding the cap established by Wis. Stat. § 40.05(4)(bp)1 (i.e., 8.5 days if annual-basis or 6.4 days if academic year-basis). This cap, in most cases, will result in a reduction of sick leave earned for that fiscal year. The cap may be blended if the employee has both an academic year and annual basis appointment during the same fiscal year. Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited Appointees who receive a reduction in sick leave will be notified of the reduction and may request a review of the decision. The request for review must be submitted within 30 days of the receipt of the notice email.
- If an employee on an academic year contract performs services outside the regular contract year (e.g., summer service or session), the employee should provide one leave report to account for leave used during the entire period of service outside of the regular contract period. This leave report must be filed or the employee will be subject to the sick leave reduction described in Section VIII(a) of this sick leave policy.
- If an employee is in the initial entitlement period, the employee is also subject to the sick leave reduction process.
- The UW System Service Center will provide each leave-eligible Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointees with a report of the employee’s leave balances at least once each month. However, there will be one cumulative leave report at the end of summer for any academic year contract employees working summer appointments.
- The Service Center will also provide leave balance information to all University Staff on a biweekly basis. This process allows the employee to review the information for accuracy.
Submitting Time Worked and Leave Used – University Staff
- Paper timesheets must be signed by the employee’s supervisor or designee.
- If time worked and leave taken are reported electronically, the employee’s supervisor or designee must electronically approve both the time worked and leave taken.
Submitting Leave Used – Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees
- Each leave-eligible UW–Madison Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited appointee is required to submit a monthly leave report, whether or not leave is used. If an academic year employee works a summer session/summer service appointment(s), the employee must complete one comprehensive leave report for the summer employment before the start of the fall semester. The employee may submit the report via paper leave report or electronically.
- If the paper leave reporting method is used, the employee must complete, sign, and file a monthly leave report with the employee’s designated unit record keeper, whether or not leave is used. The leave report must contain the written attestation, “I certify that my leave report is accurate. I understand that misrepresentation can lead to disciplinary action.” The employee’s department chair, director, supervisor, or designee must also sign the monthly leave report.
- If the electronic leave reporting method is used, the employee must enter leave usage information for every generated report. If no leave is used, the employee must indicate that no leave was taken. Once leave is electronically submitted, the leave must be approved electronically by the employee’s department chair, director, supervisor, or designee.
- The designated signatory for the Chancellor’s monthly leave report is the Provost.
Leave Earned and Leave Reporting during Faculty Sabbatical
Note: The submission deadline by the divisional office to the Service Center for University Staff requests to exchange the leave type used is the end of the calendar year in which the absence occurred.
The submission deadline by the divisional office to the Service Center for Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited requests to exchange the leave type is the end of the fiscal year in which the absence occurred.
UW–Madison employees may be able to convert their sick leave credits to pay for State Group Health Insurance at retirement, layoff, or death. Covered survivors of employees who die and/or dependents may be eligible to use the employee’s sick leave credits to pay state group health insurance premiums. In addition, employees who terminate with 20 years of WRS creditable service may be eligible to use or preserve sick leave credits to pay health insurance premiums. Eligibility requirements under the ASLCC and SHICC programs are outlined in Wisconsin Human Resources Handbook, Chapter 758 and Wis. Stats. §§ 40.05(4)(b) and 40.95.
Accrued sick leave will be reinstated upon return to leave-eligible university employment under one of the following conditions:
Example: Employee works five 8-hour days per week
|Hours Missed||Leave Reported|
|0 to < 2 hours||0 hours|
|2 hours to 6 hours||4 hours|
|> 6 hours||8 hours|
Each leave-eligible University Staff member is required to submit both time worked and leave taken on a biweekly basis, either on a paper timesheet or electronically.
Consistent with the intent of Academic Planning Statement #3.3 (ACPS 3.3) and Wis. Stats. §§ 36.11(17) and 40.02(22)(em), Faculty on sabbatical leave will earn sick leave at the same rate as they did immediately before the sabbatical leave began. Faculty who are absent from work during a sabbatical leave for a reason described in Section III(b) of this sick leave policy must report the sick leave usage.
An employee’s signed sick leave report must be retained for five years. Electronic submission of leave reports through HRS will be archived in the HRS Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Data Warehouse for at least five years.
Consequences for Non-Compliance
See section VIII, “Reduction of Sick Leave Accrual for Failing to Report Leave Usage – Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees Only.”
Immediate Family Member includes all of the following:
- Employee's legal spouse
- Employee’s domestic partner as defined by UW–Madison Domestic Partnership Policy
- Children of employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner (biological, adopted, step or foster child, or legal ward)
- Grandchildren of employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner
- Parents of employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner (biological, adopted, step or foster parent, or legal guardian of employee)
- Grandparents of employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner
- Brothers and sisters, and spouses or domestic partners of the brothers and sisters of employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner
- Aunts and uncles of employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner
- Sons-in-law or daughters-in-law of employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner
- Other relatives of employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner who reside in the household of the employee
|Office of Human Resources (OHR)||
|Deans and Directors||